Golfers Swing Into Action For Spring Campaign

Yale women's golf team, spring break 2014
Yale women's golf team, spring break 2014

Starts With Trip South

NEW HAVEN, Conn.—After a fall campaign in which it recorded two victories and two second-place finishes, the Yale women's golf team is in strong form as it embarks upon its spring campaign.

It left New Haven on Mar. 8 and played a match against No. 23 University of Central Florida on Mar. 9 at the Isleworth Golf & Country Club in Windermere, Fl. The venue was set up with the help of the Liu family.

"Dr. Liu really went above and beyond to help secure this course for the match and we cannot thank him enough," said head coach Chawwadee Rompothong '00. "Isleworth is the best course in Orlando and very difficult to get on. It is where Tiger Woods and many PGA and LPGA pros practice and live. We also had the pleasure of meeting Paula Creamer that day, which was a special treat for the team!" 

Yale's team also had the opportunity to meet two-time U.S. Open Champion Lee Janzen and top-ranked LPGA player, Na Yeon Choi, who won the U.S. Women's Open in 2012. 

Against UCF, the Bulldogs played three four-ball matches and lost 3-0. Two of the matches were neck and neck until the 18th hole, where Yale lost 1 down.

"It was our first time on grass since the end of October and I thought the team looked great," Rompothong said.

The team will then practice at courses around Naples, Fl., from Mar. 11 to Mar. 14. Yale's itinerary includes Hole In The Wall Golf Club, Golf Club of the Everglades and Calusa Pines Golf Club. 

"I would like to thank Mr. Fogg, Mr. Wheeler and Mr. Kukk for hosting the team in Naples. They were gracious enough to house the entire team at their homes and have us on the best courses in southern Florida," Rompothong said. "They along with Dr. Liu made this trip truly spectacular!"

Once the Bulldogs wrap up in southern Florida, they will travel to Virginia for their first official tournament of 2014, the Mar. 16-18 William & Mary Invitational, held at the Kingsmill Resort in Williamsburg, Va. While there, the team will look to improve upon its sixth-place finish at the tournament last year, when inclement weather disrupted play and challenged golfers throughout the final day of competition.

Yale will then compete at the Mar. 31-Apr. 1 Hoya Invitational, which this year will take place at The Members Club at Four Streams in Beallsville, Md. Last year the Bulldogs contended strongly amongst the 14-team field to finish in second at the tournament.

Less than a week after the conclusion of the Hoya Invitational, the Bulldogs will be on the road again competing at Apr. 5-6 Pirate Invitational. The tournament, hosted by Seton Hall at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J., is a new addition to Yale's schedule and will provide a challenging test as the season nears its conclusion.

The Bulldogs will then return to the Garden State to wrap up spring competition with the Apr. 25-27 Ivy League Championship, held this year at the Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield, N.J.

Leading the team throughout 2013-14 is senior captain Sun Gyoung Park, who earned first team All-Ivy honors two years ago and will be looking find similar form in her final season. Fellow senior Seo Hee Moon adds much valuable leadership and experience; a former Ivy League Player of the Year winner, she has consistently been among the top players in the Ivy League in recent years and already posted two second-place finishes in the fall. 

Three juniors—Shreya Ghei, Marika Liu and Caroline Rouse—will also be keen to take advantage of the spring, having recorded several top-10 finishes during the fall. They will be joined by two sophomores—Michelle Fogarty and Deanna Song—seeking to build their collegiate golfing experience throughout the course of the season. 

And in a sign that bodes well for the future, the Bulldogs have four talented freshmen: Elisabeth Bernabe, Sara Garmezy, Sandy Wongwaiwate and Julia Yao. In an impressive start to her collegiate career, Bernabe won two tournament medals at her first two competitions—the Dartmouth Invitational and Yale Intercollegiate—and then clinched a third in a playoff at the Sacred Heart Fall Classic. Wongwaiwate has also been amongst Yale's top performers, tying for second at the Nittany Lion Invitational and Sacred Heart Fall Classic and recording two other top-10 finishes.

Together, the Bulldogs will begin the spring buoyed by momentum from a successful fall in which they finished no lower than second place at a tournament. The Bulldogs won the Dartmouth Invitational and the Yale Intercollegiate, before finishing runner-up at the Nittany Lion Invitational and the Sacred Heart Fall Classic.

"The team has been practicing hard and workout throughout this cold, snowy winter and I feel that we are poised for a good spring," Rompothong said. "I just hope the weather cooperates with us in the northeast." 

Report filed by James Lu '14, Yale Sports Publicity.